Nothing Is Something: Five Minute Friday

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This week’s prompt is Nothing.

Christopher Robin talks about doing nothing. It’s something he loves to do. But he says that once he goes to school, he won’t do nothing much anymore. Adults have trouble doing nothing. We always feel as though we must be efficient and productive. Children (at least when they are away from technology for long enough) excel at just be-ing. I need to do nothing more, because actually it is something. It’s called rest.

Even if you are running around the back yard with your kids or meandering through the neighborhood on a spontaneously walk or drive, it can be rest. A time of unstructured activity that has no set purpose or agenda. A time that is not about what you do, but who you do it with. Sometimes I feel like I have to quantify everything. Do we do enough useful things today? Did I produce something, clean something or impact knowledge? Did we do letters and numbers, teach life skills and have the necessary outside time to encourage proper development?

My days are filled with these kind of questions. But kids don’t ask these things. They just live and sometimes they have goals and sometimes they are just seeing what happens, spontaneous scientist without method or documentation.

“When grownups ask you what you’re going to do, and you say nothing and then you go out and do it.” I need more of this in my life. Maybe you do too.

Want to join us? Read more about Five Minute Friday here.

Tummy Team Week 6: Consistency

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Photo Credit: Dia™ via Compfight cc

Ah, consistency. The bane of my existence. I have struggled with this throughout the program. I try to just do the exercises as soon as I remember, but often I’ll realize that I totally forgot all day until right before I go to bed. I can engage my transverse, and even do some transverse holds, but I often forget the pulses and many of the stretches. I can do active sitting in the car, in church or at my table during meals. I need to find a way to raise up my laptop so I’m no looking down so much, because I know it leads me to slump.

I loved this week’s video was about advanced lifestyle integration. Basically, how to do everything you’ve learned up to this point, while you live your life. I know that I do things in the course of my life that aren’t ideal for my core. I’m trying to replacing bending with squatting and kneeling. I’m focusing on active sitting and proper posture even if it means working at the kitchen table when I’d rather be on the couch. Yes, I still have to pick up my 35 lb two year old and haul him through parking lots or up the stairs. Sometimes I throw him over my shoulder in a fireman style carry or hold him across my middle and engage my core. Other times I grab and go. Your body was designed for life. But my body has been damaged and needs time to heal. But I can’t give up living to do it. That’s what I love about Kelly. She doesn’t say “never do this” (except maybe for crunches) but she does give you better options and helps you make ideal choices when possible.

Just for a quick update: I measured my diastasis and it has shrunk slightly. I’d guess 1.5 fingers and I can feel the strength of the surrounding muscles. That being said, I know that I still have some work to do regarding healthy weight (the BMI system is really stacked against someone who is only 5’2”) and I want to add more aerobic exercise back into my life. Truthfully, I want to run again, but I don’t know if I’m prepared to deal with the expense of proper shoes and the probable doctor’s visit to figure out my recurring foot pain that is only caused by running. But my church is organizing running groups to train for the Runner’s World Half Festival again and I’d love to be part of it, maybe even a 10 K this time. We’ll see, but thanks to The Tummy Team and Fit2B my core will be ready no matter what.

Tummy Team Week 7: Challenge

The Tummy Team Core Foundations Online Program

I have been provided with complimentary access to this training program in order to review it. All opinions expressed are my own and I am not compensated for my reviews. However, all posts may contain affiliate links.

Repairing My Core: Reviewing the Core Foundations 8-week Online Training Program with the Tummy Team 

Tummy Team Week 1: Awareness

Tummy Team Week 2: Connection

Tummy Team Week 3: Neutral Pelvis and Core Strength

My Skype Session with Kelly Dean

Tummy Team Week 4: Pelvic Floor

Tummy Team Week 5: Neutral Rib Alignment and Core Endurance

Created to Give Life: 31 Days to Clean

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Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

This chapter was a great reminder that, as house manager, wife and mom, I set the tone. By my very biology I give life, but I also give life to my home.

To be honest, this is probably not a way that I have excelled. I have settled for existing and maintaining for far too long. Keep everyone alive, fed and less than filthy has been my mantra. But maybe it’s time for that to change, in small manageable ways.

A few weeks ago we finally framed pictures of our kids. Our daughter is almost five, our son is two. We’ve had formal portraits of them taken at least once a year since our daughter was one. But we’ve never hung them up. So finally we went to a local discount store, and bought A LOT of frames. We budgeted for it, and my husband promised to have them framed and hung as a Mother’s Day present. My living room was decently well decorated before. We had hung framed wall art and artistic photos, some of our own creation. But I decided that my kids could fit into that.

On the stairs where there had been framed photos my husband and I took together, we alternated the photos with framed pictures of the kids. The empty places on the walls are filled with images of our children, our best creations, from birth to current age. Our upstairs hallways, which was previously empty is lined with first year frames, containing small pictures of our children each month for the first year. (I’ll admit we had trouble finding enough pictures of my son to make it work. Poor less photographed second baby). Our walls look a little more crowded now, but they have life.

Mary Challenge

What can you do to bring life to your home, your children, your husband, your sphere of influence?

I think the best way I can do this is with my attitude. I all too easily fall back into survival mindset. That’s OK for the sick day or an especially frustrating or hormonal week, but I can’t live there. Newborn days are one thing, but I have two children who usually sleep through the night and still have afternoon naps/quiet time. I don’t need to settle for survival mode anymore. So I’m going to continually set the tone in my home with a positive attitude. No, it isn’t easy and it doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m going to work on it anyway.

Martha Challenge

Clean out and scrub down your fridge or freezer.

I have been on a real cleaning jag lately. I’m blaming hormones, but twice in the past week I’m had the irrepressible need to clean a particular area of my home. Last Thursday it was my kitchen. Yesterday it was the storage cabinet in my bathroom. (For the record I found no less than eight half used bottles of Bath and Body Works products from five or more years ago. Yuck and Yikes!)

I like the idea of cleaning my fridge inside and out. In my case this will also include the top of the fridge which I use for storage. However, I’m not cleaning my freezer. Nope. Not happening. Our freezer is really too small for our use and is perpetually overfull. I’m not going to empty it and clean it out, especially not during warm weather. If we buy a chest freezer this summer, maybe I’ll do it then, but definitely not before. But hey, compromise is also part o keeping a clean house and a sane mind and this is one place where I draw the line.

So give life, clean your fridge (and freezer, if you dare) and remember that you set the tone for your home. Embrace it.

31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way

31 Days to Clean: Why Clean?

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Remember the Promise of the Seasons: Mindset for Moms

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Photo Credit: Rein -e- Art via Compfight cc

This week Jamie Martin encourages her reader to embrace the season they are in. I’ve heard this advice often. When the house is a mess and at the end of the day it seems like all you’ve accomplished is keeping the kids alive, fed and maybe clean. People will tell you, it’s just a season of your life, it will pass. This is true. Life ebbs and flows with its patterns, routines and difficulties. The sleeplessness of the baby years is replaced with toddler tantrums and preschooler whining. Each time of life has its own wonders and difficulties.

I’m trying very hard not to just get through the season that I’m in but look for the things to enjoy about it. Jamie highlights winter in particular. Winter can seem like a cold, harsh time, but spring will come. But at the same time, we don’t need to dread the coming of winter either if we can remember the cozy times by the fire.

I would like to have another child in the next couple of years, but one of the things that gives me pause is remembering how hard things were after the birth of my son. I remember the fearful pregnancy following our miscarriage, the gestational diabetes, overdue delivery and postpartum hemorrhage. I think of the many sleepless nights, the feedings issues and months of nursing, pumping and supplementing. Looking back I don’t remember doing much else but surviving. I’m hoping that my next pregnancy and birth experience won’t be like that, but I remember the chill of winter and it makes me fearful.

But when the times comes that we decide we are ready to grow our family I’m going to try my best, by God’s grace and mercy, not to focus on the hard times that may be coming, but the joy. The chubby newborn smiles. The wonderful alert but immobile phase. (As the mother of a running, busy toddler, I have a whole new appreciation for this). I think about my daughter’s tender moments with her baby cousin this past year. There will be wonderful, beautiful times even among the difficulties.

Right now my life feels like an exercise in repetition. But I’m trying desperately to remember that this is a season of my life that won’t come this exact way again. My children may be a handful but there are special things happening in their minds and hearts, even if it is crocuses beginning to sprout below the surface. I may have to remind myself a few dozen times a day, but what I do does matter. This difficulties won’t last, though there will always be new ones, but I can focus on the good things that are happening and it will make the hardships a little more bearable.

Mindset for Moms From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 days

How Do You Want to Change? Mindset for Moms

Talk Less: Mindset for Moms

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Closing the Space Between Us: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

This week’s prompt is Close.

A rare date night of a movie and dinner. (The order is so very important). We sit in the restaurant booth and discuss the movie. We leisurely eat our bread and salad, glad for once that the entrees are taking their time. We talk about things that interest us and no one interrupts. We drink wine slowly and savor the closeness. The crowded and loud restaurant feels refreshingly peaceful, in this intimate space between us. I joke that sometimes it’s fun to pretend we don’t have kids. We love our little creatures but they are so loud, so boisterous and so needy. Rarely do we exchange more than a handful of words while they are still in the land of the wakeful and once the bedtime gauntlet is run, we’re too tired for long drawn out conversations. But nights like tonight are precious. When we remember how it used to be, and how lucky we didn’t know we were. The quiet we traded for chaos and the privacy we exchanged for family. But if we set aside the time, the money and the energy we can still find the closeness that brought us together and keeps us going.

Want to join us? Read more about Five Minute Friday here.

 

Tummy Team Week 5: Neutral Rib Alignment and Core Endurance

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Photo Credit: Deanna Wardin @ Tattoo Boogaloo via Compfight cc

The focus of Week 5 is Neutral Rib Alignment and Core Endurance.

I had already talked a lot about rib alignment with Kelly during my Skype session, so this was a great follow up. My big focus was on maintain proper pelvic alignment without sticking my ribs forward. This is also the week I was supposed to be weaning from my splint. But I’d honestly begun doing that a while ago. At this point I usually wear it only when exercising, now that the warm weather has arrived.

Last weekend I worked in the garden without my splint, which was probably a mistake, but I did avoid bending, instead opting for kneeling and squatting. Usually after my first long planting session of the year I have massive hamstring pain. However, this time I had no problems. No pain at all, which is encouraging.

Since this is the week Kelly recommends that you begin weaning from your splint I thought this would be a good time for me to review the splint itself. This was not my first splint. I had ordered a FITsplint on the recommendations of Beth Learn at Fit2B Studio last year when I first tried the program. Fortunately this gave me something to compare it to.

At first glance, the Tummy Team splint looks very basic. It is a little longer than my other splint. It was a little bit difficult to figure out how to wear it. I wish it came with some kind of instructions. I think I finally realized that putting in on the tag on the outside (which is technically inside out) worked better for me.

I don’t wear my splint all the time. If I’m in the house, yes. I’ll even consider wearing it at night. But with the warm weather having finally arrived, I just don’t want another layer to wear. However, I don’t have a severe diastasis so it isn’t as essential for me, though it will speed my recovery. Sometimes I can’t seem to get the Velcro to line up and I end up with part of it sticking out and catching on my clothes.

Unfortunately the open mesh portion is the perfect size for little toddler fingers. (Apparently he thinks I shouldn’t wear the splint). But overall it seems to be just stiff enough to encourage me to use better alignment but doesn’t really restrict movement. It doesn’t lay terribly smooth under clothing, and I do need a tank top under it or it is too rough on my skin. But honestly, no splint looks great under your clothes unless you wear very baggy things. That’s why I compromised on how much I wear it.

As far as my progress in the actual program is concerned, I am having trouble remembering to do all of the exercises. Plus I got sick this week which meant I didn’t do much of anything for a few days. Hopefully I can catch up again next week. I am finding that the standing pec stretch is helping with some of the upper back pain I was having, but it is hard to find good places to do it. Kelly recommends doing this stretch in the shower, which I try to do. But sometimes if I’m too tired (or don’t shower that day), I don’t always remember.

I know that next week’s theme is consistency so I’m going to try and focus on that more. Hopefully this cold clears up quickly and I’ll be able to get back on track with my exercise goals as well.

Tummy Team Week 6: Consistency

 

The Tummy Team Core Foundations Online Program

I have been provided with complimentary access to this training program in order to review it. All opinions expressed are my own and I am not compensated for my reviews. However, all posts may contain affiliate links.

Repairing My Core: Reviewing the Core Foundations 8-week Online Training Program with the Tummy Team 

Tummy Team Week 1: Awareness

Tummy Team Week 2: Connection

Tummy Team Week 3: Neutral Pelvis and Core Strength

My Skype Session with Kelly Dean

Tummy Team Week 4: Pelvic Floor

31 Days to Clean: Why Clean?

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Photo Credit: Close to Home via Compfight cc

The big question this whole challenge starts with is: Why do you want a clean home? Well, in my case it’s a matter of personality. I have a much higher tolerance for disorder than most of the women in my family. However, I do notice a change in mood when the house is dirty. If the kitchen floor is sticky it makes me angry. If the laundry is overflowing it makes me want to run away. When I can’t walk from one side of the room to the other without having to clean a path with my food, I want to throw out everything we own. So yeah, I think my mental health is a great reason for us to have a clean house.

I think simplification also fits into this. We have a small house, so if we want to avoid being cluttered and claustrophobic, we need to prioritize. Everything we have must be useful or beautiful, to borrow the William Morris phrase. We can’t hold onto things just to have things. So part of my cleanliness goal isn’t just about cleaning, it’s about loving what I own and getting rid of what I don’t use or love.

The Mary Challenge: Describe why you want your home to be a haven.

Well, I’ve already outlined that quite a bit. I want our home to be a place we can enjoy. So it shouldn’t be fussy or high maintenance. But it should also look inviting. Large piles of clutter aren’t appealing. My husband shouldn’t dread coming home at the end of the day. I don’t want to dread getting up in the morning because I know I’ll be greeted by a week’s worth of undone housekeeping. Plus, when my house is in decent shape, I’m work likely to feel ready to take my kids out. If the house is a disaster, I feel like I can’t leave until the situation has improved.

The other recommendation is that I write a mission statement and then dress it up in a pretty way. Not sure if I’ll actually display it but I can’t come up with a mission.

Creative, Inviting and Joyful. I’ll borrow the William Morris phrase as well, though I know I am far from the only person who feels this way. “Keep nothing you mind neither useful nor beautiful.” Perhaps I’ll at least write it on the white board in my kitchen.

Sadly my life is filled with items that are useful but also hideous. But I’m too frugal to replace a perfectly serviceable item just because it isn’t stylish. But I do keep a running list of things I’d like to replace if the money should ever be available. (Like when we are debt free and or win the lottery).

The Martha Challenge: Look over the upcoming challenges and make a list of needed supplies.

Turns out that I have most of what I need, aside from a few more storage containers for my kids outgrown clothes, but I already knew that. I realize that this is going to take me longer than recommended but I also know myself, and that is probably a good thing. One month wouldn’t happen at my house, unless I stopped everything else. But one project a week, even if it’s a big one? That I can manage.

 

31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way

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